We value a fair, just and accessible legal system. Providing counsel to those unable to afford legal representation is part of our continuous and longstanding commitment to the communities in which we serve. The Firm selects from the full spectrum of its resources for pro bono purposes. In addition, all Robbins Geller attorneys are encouraged to devote a minimum of five percent of their billable hours to pro bono activities, from representing disabled individuals to writing briefs for clergy battling threats to their religious freedom. We have been honored for our efforts by the California State Bar (including nomination for the President’s Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year award) and the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer’s Program, among others.
Recent pro bono matters include:
- Representing 19 San Diego County children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in their appeal of the San Diego Regional Center's termination of funding for a crucial therapy. The children relied on the therapy as their primary treatment for the deficits caused by ASD. We helped the families consolidate their individual cases before the Office of Administrative Hearings, then successfully tried the case using the testimony of five expert witnesses. The victory resulted in a complete reinstatement of funding and set a precedent that allows other children to obtain the treatments they need.
- Obtaining political asylum, after an initial application had been denied, for an impoverished Somali family whose ethnic minority faced systematic persecution and genocidal violence in Somalia, as well as forced female genital mutilation.
- Working with the ACLU in a class action filed on behalf of welfare applicants subject to San Diego County’s “Project 100%” program, which sent investigators from the D.A.’s office to enter and search the home of every person applying for welfare benefits, and to interrogate neighbors and employers – never explaining they had no reason to suspect wrongdoing. Real relief was had when the County admitted that food-stamp eligibility could not hinge upon the Project 100% “home visits,” and again when the district court ruled that unconsented “collateral contacts” violated state regulations. The decision was noted by the Harvard Law Review, The New York Times and The Colbert Report.
- Filing numerous amicus curiae briefs on behalf of religious organizations and clergy that support civil rights, oppose government-backed religious-viewpoint discrimination, and uphold the American traditions of religious freedom and church-state separation. We have filed briefs on behalf of a wide range of organizations and individuals, including the California Council of Churches, Union for Reform Judaism, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, United Church of Christ, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry – California and California Faith for Equality.
- Representing the Sierra Club and the National Economic Development and Law Center as amici curiae before the U.S. Supreme Court.